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Re: seedling mulch

Kitty wrote:
Thanks Jim,
Sorry, I'm just not up to chewing on it.  But I will see about popping them
out of the flat and potting up.  The reason I use Osmocote is because I know
I will forget to fertilize if it is done weekly.
I use a 9 month Osmocote with minors.  I had always thought that salt
buildup on the surface was from water soluble fertilizers; didn't think it
would be an issue with osmocote, especially as it's not on the surface.  Do
salts rise to the surface from the osmocote?

   Yes, or no, depending on how you water. Suppose you have a new pot with
mix + osmocote. You water gently to settle the soil and plant seeds.
When the top of the pot gets dry, you water again lightly, and repeat
as the seedlings grow and the pot dries at the top. Note I said _lightly_
at each watering. This is the worst possible case. With each watering, more
of the fertilizer is leached out of the osmocote and builds up in the
interstices of the mix. As the water evaporates a the top, the fertilizer salts
tag along, precipitate at the surface, and lo, you get crust as the salts
can't go into the air along with the water vapor.
   To prevent this, you have to water thoroughly so the water drains visibly
from the bottom. This is why I use a soluble fertilizer as it's easy to
water every other time with pure/tap water and so flush residual salts out the
Jim Fisher
Vienna, Virginia USA
38.9 N 77.2 W
USDA Zone 7
Max. 105 F [40 C], Min. 5 F [-15 C]

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